Yoga- Why So Critical?


"Yoga is for suckers"

Recently I received this comment on a comical yoga video I posted on a social networking site. To my knowledge the person who wrote this has not done nor knows much about yoga which lead me to feel a shall I put this..ticked off? I am someone who, when someone is involved in an activity or a certain lifestyle that makes them happy, keeps my opinions to myself because in the end it is none of my business but this kind of comment about yoga is not the first time. Nor the last I am sure.

But this comment made me think about another recent conversation I had with a fella in regards to men doing yoga, in his words yoga "Is not manly" and "Men need to feel macho".
Along with various other comments and discussions I have had I sat down and really thought about why people would have opinions such as these about yoga;

"Yoga is for hippies"
"People who do yoga are pretentious"
"Yoga is stupid"
Along with many others.

So why do people have this impression about yoga and people who do yoga?

For me it is hard to see why because doing yoga is something that helps me become centered and relaxed. It became an important part of my emotional and mental recovery and honesty I can say that yoga is awesome.Not to mention the benefits towards your health when you are an individual who does yoga.
But do we yoga folk give off an air of superiority because we do yoga?
This is possible. 
I have met a few people who do yoga and give off a holier then thou vibe when talking about how they mastered this pose in this period of time or how people who do yoga are more "Advanced" then those who do not. If someone who does not do yoga encountered yogis who act like this then yes...I can see why they might think we are pretentious. There is nothing more frustrating then people who put themselves above others because they are involved in a sport/activity that another person is not. It leaves a bad taste in someones mouth so I can see why it would turn others off of yoga.
But what about yoga is for hippies?
We can pretty much blame cliches for that is often associated with "Nature loving shower fearing hippies" in the media and even films. Throw in that you are vegan or vegetarian and that just adds fuel to the fire but the reality is we do take showers (ah humor) but seriously the hippie thing, very much a cliche. With that though the term hippie in itself is a cliche but that is a discussion for another point is I know many yogis who are nature loving vegetarians (myself included) who may not look like it in their day to day life. Just because we do yoga does not mean we live in our gear. Some of us do love wearing heels, pretty clothes and doing our hair.
I know.

Then there is the overall statement like the one I started this post with.
"Yoga is for suckers"
Or of course other go-to phrases like it is stupid, a waste of money, time, idiotic, creepy and lame.
If there is one thing I know about the people who have said these things, at least the ones I have spoken to, is that they are individuals who either;

1) have never done yoga
2) are scared of it
3) judge it because it is unknown to them/contradicts their own lifestyle

I say this because never ever have I ever spoken to someone who has done yoga and had them say anything negative about it, the worst I have heard was "It was harder then it looks" or "I was a little embarrassed in the beginning" but that is about as bad as it got. The fact of the matter is that yoga is not something you are supposed to master in your first session. It is something you grow into over time. I believe that it is also personal, what yoga means to one person might not be the same for another. Yoga is not about how quickly you master the headstand or what gear you wear. It is not about boasting about it to others or looking down on those who do not do yoga.
Yoga is about focusing on you.
As I said it may have different meanings for different people but for me it is about achieving tranquility, body and mind. I began practicing yoga when I moved to Calgary for a small stint. I was going through a rough patch and had decided to finally start being happy and not just wait for happiness to come to me. I was nervous for the first class but after that I realized that no one was watching me, judging me or laughing. Everyone was focusing on their own breathing and movements. Since then I have continued to practice yoga and it became a big part of my healing process. It gave me the skills to be alone and in peace within my own mind and body. I finally learned how to relax and breathe.
I think yoga is awesome.
Hence my frustration when I hear comments in regards to something that has helped me so much. Like Thumper from Bambi would say;

"If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all"

Yoga is not for suckers.
Yoga is something anyone can do and to live with a open mind is to allow yourself to experience and learn new things that could change your life for the better.

For those who are reading this and do not do yoga, this is not a post to convince you to do it. But I hope it does help you see if you had negative views on it that when someone does yoga it is a part of their life and who they are and to insult that is to insult them. For those folks who do yoga, I would love your feedback on this topic!

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  1. I'm sure that the impressions I had at a young age about yoga were certainly influenced by those I know who do yoga. My mom did yoga all through my childhood and would verbally berate people who didn't do yoga for not being spiritually in touch with themselves. Granted, I've learned to separate her insanity and the rest of the human world, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who had an experience like this.

    1. That is very true and an issue for sure with many yoga people who berate those who do not do yoga. Though it is quite vice versa too because I get berated for doing yoga. Just wish people who respect others and not assume they are better because of what activity they do/do not do.
      Peace and love people :p

  2. I've never done Yoga and know little about it, from my point of view I ask if it helps an individual and they feel good about themselves, what's wrong with it. It's unfortunate that there are individuals who need to criticize to enable them to be happy, those are the one's to keep away from.

    1. People who criticize to be happy need to sit down with themselves and figure out why this is the case. To take it out on others who are simply attempting to find happiness for themselves through activities (not just yoga but I mean in general like even making crafts or volunteering at centers) is perplexing to say the least


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